Infographics and the Industrial Revolution

I spent some of the weekend preparing some extracts for a bespoke course in British economic history – thus, cutting bleeding chunks from the Leviathan, the Wealth of Nations the Protestant Work Ethic, and so on – in order to illustrate some trends and developments associated with the Industrial Revolution.

Text extracts is how I learnt my history and literature, at school and university. Lecturers and teachers would make us stare at them, think about them, discuss them. It is, I suppose, a bit fuddy-duddy (even if it is also useful and meticulous).

But I did find myself recalling with envy the condensation possible in certain sorts of infographics (one of the best sites illustrating the sort of thing I mean is Information is Beautiful, which you can find here).

So this is Hans Rosling, illustrating in four memorable minutes the growth of health and wealth worldwide since 1810. No dull plod here.


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